Student Loans: Women, Have You Racked Up Legal Expenses from Your Debt Relief Company?
Women & Debt, Installment II of V
Numerous “people who lived on the margins: financially unsophisticated, drowning in student debt, unemployed or disabled” were victims of companies claiming to offer debt relief programs, the most popularized program being student loan forgiveness. One company implying they worked with the Education Department scammed between 20,000 – 100,000 of people, misleading their desperate, trusting, consumers into emptying millions into their pockets. Fear tactics “weaponizing emails, letters, and texts promising loan forgiveness or lower payments through special, supposedly limited programs” were used to spread the propaganda. The advertised statement is very alarming which led many to run to the proverbial slaughter to enroll despite their uncertainty and hesitation, scraping together programs fees with dreams of refinancing and hopes of consolidation.
Victims of the companies lies as well as some of the employees, shared their regretful involvement and disastrous experiences of the company built on false promises of debt relief. Jennie’s “temporary deferment expired” as she waited for the company to relieve her debt. Jennie “didn’t realize what had happened” until her loan servicer abruptly pulled some “$500 from her checking account to cover the payments she’d missed”, which she “needed for rent.” They “ignored her pleas for help and refused her request for a refund […] her bank, refunded part of the money she’d paid.” She ended up in a worsened debt situation. “It was in such a hard time of my life, and they made everything worse. They were just preying on people who needed help the most.” Fortunately, after a court hearing with the Federal Trade Commission, the CEO of the company in reference settled out of court and agreed to never again work in the debt relief industry.
As shown in article I, women in America hold two-thirds of student loan debt in the US. This puts them especially at risk for becoming victims of financial predators. More details to come in installment III – Legal Help is Often Not as Affordable or Immediate as Advertised.
By: Imani Hicks